Safaricom has launched its phone-based money transfer service M-PESA in Ethiopia three months after receiving the Payment Instrument Issuer License from the country’s central bank.

In preparation for the launch, M-PESA underwent a rigorous three-month pilot, completed the technical readiness, secured key partnerships with Banks, recruited, trained, and onboarded M-PESA agents, Safaricom said in a statement.

Using M-PESA, customers can send money within the country and receive money from within the country and abroad, pay merchants, buy airtime, transfer to their bank accounts, and send money from their bank accounts to their M-PESA.

Providing services to more than 51 million customers across seven countries in Africa M-Pesa has been a game-changer for financial accessibility since it was launched in 2007. In Kenya, for example it has had a notable impact, increasing the country’s financial inclusion from only 26 percent in 2006 to 84 percent in 2021, according to a recent report from McKinsey & Company.

On the latest launch, Stanley Njoroge, Interim CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia said: “We will continue to broaden the services our customers receive from the M-PESA platform that will improve the quality of life for our customers. M-PESA will play its part in fast tracking Digital Inclusion and promote innovation outlined in the Digital payments Strategy 2025.”

Paul Kavavu, Interim General Manager of Safaricom M-PESA Mobile Financial Services PLC added; “M-Pesa is Africa’s most successful mobile money service and the region’s largest fintech platform both for the banked and unbanked due to its safety and convenience. It also provides financial services to millions of people who have mobile phones, but do not have bank accounts, or only have limited access to banking services.

“In Kenya, it has enabled the growth of financial inclusion that over 90% of the adult population has access to mobile banking. We look forward to replicating this success in Ethiopia and are excited to go live with the services. In the coming months we will continue to add more functions and work with all Ethiopians to jointly realise the transformative power of M-PESA.”

All Safaricom Ethiopia customers are eligible for the services offered by M-PESA and can dial *733# on their Safaricom line both for android and IOS. The app is currently ready in five languages for android devices and available on play store; and will be available for IOS devices in the coming weeks.

Subscribe to the Seamless Xtra weekly newsletter
See our latest daily updates on LinkedIn 
Image by Fiona Graham via Flickr